If you’re lucky, you may never have to experience a dental emergency. But life is unpredictable, and even if you practice the best oral hygiene you can, you never know when you’re going to need a rush visit to the dentist. If you have a dental emergency in Rockland County, here are a few tips on what to do.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
The first thing that pops into your head when you hear the phrase “dental emergency” is probably a gruesome scene of blunt force trauma. Whether it’s a bicycle crash, car accident, or a fall just a little bit too close to a table or counter, getting hit in the teeth can easily result in a crack, chip, or even the loss of an entire tooth.
But that’s not the only kind of dental emergency you can have. Maybe you have an object stuck in between your teeth or under the gums, causing discomfort or swelling, that you can’t seem to get out with floss and a toothbrush. Or maybe you develop a painful toothache too quickly for a standard appointment to make sense. And problems with dental restorations like a lost filling or crown also need to be resolved quickly.
Essentially, dental emergencies are any dental problems that are urgent. How urgent they are, though, determines what the best response it.
Your Dentist, or the Emergency Room?
If your dentist is open, they should be your first phone call. Describe your dental emergency in as much detail as you can, and they will advise you on the best course of action. However, if your dentist is closed at the time of the emergency, you should try to get in touch with another dentist offering emergency care. Seeing a dentist is always preferable to visiting the emergency room. But what if you can’t find a local emergency dentist? Whether or not you should visit the emergency room depends on the circumstance. You should visit the emergency room if:
- …a permanent tooth has been knocked out
- …you are experiencing bleeding that doesn’t stop.
- …your jaw is injured.
Otherwise, it’s probably safe to simply make an urgent appointment with your dentist first thing the next morning. Meanwhile, swishing warm salt water around in your mouth can help temporarily treat irritation and swelling at home, and a cold compress can help with swelling, irritation, and bleeding.
Preventing Dental Emergencies
While some dental emergencies are unavoidable, others can be prevented with careful and dedicated oral hygiene. Not only should you brush and floss consistently, but you should also be seeing a dentist for regular cleanings and checkups to make sure your teeth and gums are in good condition.
If your dentist recommends a treatment, don’t put it off. Many dental problems only get worse over time, and what begins as a small issue can become a larger one if untreated. Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports that could put your teeth at risk. And watch out for foods that put your teeth at risk by being particularly tough or chewy.